1. Main facts and figures
- in the New Year Honours List 2021, 85.7% of honours recipients were White (out of those whose ethnicity was known)
- 7.6% of honours recipients were Asian, 3.0% were Black, 2.3% had Mixed ethnicity, and 1.5% were from the Other ethnic group
- White people received 96.7% of higher honours (including damehoods and knighthoods)
- out of all types of honour, MBEs had the highest percentage of recipients from ethnic minorities (not including White minorities), at 15.9%
- between June 2014 and December 2020, the percentage of honours recipients from ethnic minorities (not including White minorities) went up from 6.5% to 14.3%
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
The data measures the ethnicity of people who receive one of the following honours in the New Year and Queen's Birthday Honours Lists:
- Higher Honours (including damehoods and knighthoods)
- CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
- OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire)
- MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire)
- BEM (British Empire Medal)
Each year, the Queen's Birthday Honours List is published in June (with the exception of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020, which was published in October). The New Year Honours List is published in December.
In the New Year Honours List 2021, 231 of the 1,239 recipients were honoured explicitly for their work relating to COVID-19.
You can read more about the honours system.
Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal point, but all differences have been worked out using unrounded data.
Not included in the data
The data does not include:
- people who did not accept their honour
- people whose ethnicity was not known
The ethnic groups used in the data
Data is shown for the following 5 aggregated ethnic groups:
This means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole. This is because the number of honours recipients is too small to make any reliable conclusions about any of the 18 ethnic groups used in the 2011 Census.
For the data shown over time, results are shown for 2 aggregated ethnic groups:
- White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
- Other than White – all other ethnic minorities
Ethnicity was not known for 7.2% of honours recipients in December 2020.
The number of honours recipients is small and varies from year to year. Find out how group size affects the reliability of data.
In the data file
See Download the data for the number of recipients whose ethnicity was not known between June 2014 and December 2020.
3. By ethnicity and type of honour
|Ethnicity||All %||All Number||Higher %||Higher Number||CBE %||CBE Number||OBE %||OBE Number||MBE %||MBE Number||BEM %||BEM Number|
Summary of Honours recipients By ethnicity and type of honour Summary
4. By ethnicity and type of honour over time
|White||Other than White|
|Time period||White Higher||White CBE||White OBE||White MBE||White BEM||Other than White Higher||Other than White CBE||Other than White OBE||Other than White MBE||Other than White BEM|
Summary of Honours recipients By ethnicity and type of honour over time Summary
5. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Twice a year
Purpose of data source
The collection of this data is for statistical purposes and aids the Honours and Appointments Secretariat in ensuring equality of representation in the honours system.
6. Download the data
This file contains the following: type of honour, ethnicity, year, number and percentage values